Concern Alternative Gifting

I remember when I was about 10 sitting at the kitchen table while my dad was writing Christmas cards to his work colleagues and suppliers. I thought it was odd that there was a chicken on the front of the card, not your typical Christmas card. I remember dad explaining to me about mosquito nets and how they protect families from contracting the deadly disease, Malaria, one that our family knew a lot about after my dad contracted it while working in Malaysia when I was very young. We got to visit dad while he was in hospital but we could only see him through a window with no contact until everything was signed off. I remember standing in my school uniform and my heart hurting because I couldn't jump up into my daddy's arms. Because of our amazing NHS, a lot of candles lit and prayers said he is still living with it. This is something that not many can say especially in developing world countries where children and adults are dying daily from this preventable disease.

It all made perfect sense to give a mosquito net rather than a bottle of vodka, some chickens to help feed a family instead of a tin of sweets to overindulge in and education for vunerable children who desperately want to go to school rather than a token scarf that isn't wanted and will probably make its way to the charity shop before the end of January.

That’s why when Concern got in contact asking me to help them raise awareness about the amazing work that they are doing I jumped at the chance. It reminded me of the cards that were around our kitchen at home, the gift list of things to choose from and to be honest it reminded me that of all gift lists, this one could be a lifeline and give so much more than another pair of socks.

Of course, I will still be buying some gifts to loved ones but it made me think of those who are hard to buy for, those who really don't need anything and made me ask why should we continue to buy 'for the sake of it'?

There is a range of gifts to suit everyone’s budget. The main focus for Concern is to cover the key areas of education, emergencies, health care and livelihoods to the 26 countries that they work in. These include the poorest countries in the world.

In almost 50 years that Concern has been operating they have helped millions of people across the world but there is still more to do. Whatever gift is bought, from clean water tablets (£8) to a water pump for a community (£87), you can be sure that it will bring joy to the people who receive it.

The one gift that jumped out at me was the 'Girls Skills' course. For £20 this will cover the cost of enabling six teenage girls to attend a course in Malawi where they are taught how to have important discussions about life, take steps to achieve their goals and how to stay strong when faced with challenges. This is all achieved through sports-based classes. That's some girl power I want to be a part of, I want my girls to be a part of and if I was in their shoes I would want to have the opportunity to be a part of. That is the true meaning of girls supporting girls.

I am very proud to work alongside Concern on this blog post, to be part of something that for many years has been achieving many great things. This post is a paid post but the money earned will be invested back in to give a water pump for a community, 'Girl Skills’ for 12 girls, six chickens, a school starter kit and school lunches (the perfect teacher’s gift).

Anna xx